Attorney General Kamala D. Harris' Bill to Combat Human Trafficking Unanimously Passes out of State Senate

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that a bill she is sponsoring to ensure that those convicted of human trafficking crimes involving minors will not be able to keep the financial benefits reaped from those crimes unanimously passed out of the state Senate.

“The trafficking of human beings is an unseen problem in California and throughout the country,” said Attorney General Harris. “I am proud to sponsor legislation that will undercut the trafficking of human beings throughout our state.”

Senate Bill 1133, authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), ensures that those convicted of human trafficking crimes involving minors will not be able to keep the financial benefits reaped from those crimes. This bill expands on the current list of assets that the perpetrator must forfeit and provides a formula to redirect those resources to community groups that aid victims of human trafficking. It passed the Senate floor 36 to 0.

“Sex trafficking of minors is a horrendous crime that is driven by the prospect of lucrative profits,” said Senator Leno. “This legislation aims to deprive convicted criminals of the financial resources and assets that would allow them to continue luring young people into the sex trade. In turn, proceeds from those forfeitures would rightfully be used to help victims begin to repair their lives.”

Attorney General Harris has been committed to combating human trafficking throughout her career. Human trafficking in California first became a felony in 2005 with the California Human Trafficking Victims Protection Act that the Attorney General co-sponsored when she served as the District Attorney of San Francisco.

Attorney General Harris has also served on the California Alliance to Combat Trafficking and Slavery Task Force and the Department of Justice is currently updating the report “Human Trafficking in California,” which was released by the task force in 2007. The updated report is expected to be issued this summer.

The Attorney General is sponsoring a second human trafficking bill this session. Assembly Bill 2466 (Preservation of Assets for Victims of Human Trafficking), by Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley) will require that more victims of human trafficking receive restitution. Under California law, victims are entitled to mandatory restitution; however there are no laws to help prevent human trafficking defendants from liquidating and hiding their assets before conviction. Assembly Bill 2466 would allow a court to order the preservation of the assets and property by persons charged with human trafficking. The bill passed the Assembly unanimously earlier this month and is pending in the Senate.

Human trafficking is estimated to be a $32 billion industry, the world’s third most profitable criminal enterprise behind drugs and arms trafficking. Human trafficking involves the recruitment, smuggling, transporting, harboring, buying, or selling of a person for purposes of exploitation, prostitution, domestic servitude, sweatshop labor, migrant work, agricultural labor, peonage, bondage, or involuntary servitude. While human trafficking often involves the smuggling of human beings across international borders, numerous Americans are trafficked around the United States ever year. Human trafficking strips people, especially women and children, of their freedom and violates our nation’s promise that every person in the United States is guaranteed basic human rights.

For more information, go to the Attorney General’s human trafficking web site at www.oag.ca.gov/human-trafficking

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